Maternity Photo Shoot

When we were pregnant with Noah, we captured how I looked at 30 weeks by getting maternity pictures taken. I still cherish those pictures and wanted to make it a priority to get pictures taken again for this pregnancy. My friend, Jessica Limeberry, is a phenomenal photographer, and I was SO excited when we set up a date and time for a maternity photo shoot. Jess has quickly become one of my closest friends in Greenwood since we met a couple years ago. Sometimes I think we are living parallel lives because we have sons who were born 4 months apart, and now we are both pregnant with boys whose due dates are 9 days apart. Wild, huh?

Anyway, this was the third photo shoot we have done with Jessica. The first time was during Christmas 2009, and the second time was for Noah's 2 year pictures. Not only do I love how these maternity pictures turned out, but she is going to take Baby #2's newborn photos soon after he is born. I love working with a friend on these projects because I absolutely have no range in expression, and I feel absolutely silly in front of a camera by myself. Somehow, even with my awkwardness and 33 week belly, she captured so many beautiful shots! I'll highlight some of my favorites below.

Thanks again, Jess, for helping us capture this time in our lives! Please check out Jessica's website at http://lemongrassphotography.com/ to see more of her amazing work!


Preparing for the Big Day

This week I have been thinking more and more about Baby #2's BIRTHday. I have been wavering back and forth between feeling a little anxious to give birth again to feeling absolutely up to the challenge! For the most part, though, I really do feel more mentally prepared and excited to go through this amazing experience all over again. Last night, I finally watched The Business of Being Born. Seeing that documentary and watching the different women give birth, typically in a natural fashion, I feel empowered and am reminded of why I am striving to have another natural birth with this baby. I am also so much more hopeful that we can have a water birth this time!

Giving birth in our country has really became a medical event, one in which doctors and nurses are constantly monitoring, judging,and making decisions based on their protocols or time tables rather than allowing the natural process that God created to take place (uh oh - I'm standing on my soapbox - watch out!). In my heart, I truly believe that giving birth is most typically a very natural phenomenom, and if we just let things happen on their own timelines, things tend to go well for most women. Are there situations where medical intervention is required? Absolutely! I am thankful for the training that doctors and nurses receive that help deal with that small percentage of women who need medical treatment in order to safely give birth. For the large majority of women, I wish hospitals, doctors, and nurses would just allow things to progress on their own. If women want an epidural, so be it. Let that be their choice, but please explain ahead of time (prior to going into labor) both the benefits and risks of having one. Typically, one medical intervention leads to another and then another and so on. Before you know it, the medical staff is completely managing the birth process rather than just letting nature take its course. Ok, I'm stepping off my soapbox. I truly don't want to offend anyone, but I wish that we women would be more invested in learning about the birth process from both natural and medical aspects. Then, once we are completely educated on what truly is one of the most important events of our lives, then we can make whatever decision we feel like is right for us. If we're going to spend hours planning a vacation - researching things to do, places to stay, etc. - or buying a new item for our homes, we should give birth the same if not more time and effort. To give you an idea of what our birth preference letter looks like, see below:

Our goal is to give birth to a healthy child while having as natural a birth as possible. Our definition of natural includes the following:
  • Allowing labor to progress naturally without the use of inducing agents such as Pitocin.
  • Natural rupture of the amniotic sack
  • Intermittent fetal monitoring and freedom of movement
  • Allowing the use of snacks/drinks rather than IV fluids for nourishment
  • Labor and delivery without the use of anesthesia. Please do not offer any pain reducing agents.
  • For pain management, Amy and Ryan may use the following: aromatherapy, birth ball, breathing, focal point/visualization, hot/cold compresses, counter-pressure/massage, prayer, shower, and the birthing tub.
  • Allowing the perineum to tear naturally if necessary rather than undergoing an episiotomy. If massage of the perineum can help prevent tearing, this is encouraged.
  • Amy may want to utilize the birthing tub during delivery.
  • Waiting until the umbilical cord has stopped pulsing before cutting it and placing the baby on Amy after birth. Please ask Ryan if he would like to cut the cord.
  • Allowing Ryan to be present during any checks and treatment done to the baby. Explaining any procedures you do is very much appreciated.
After the baby is born, Amy is planning to breastfeed. Please do not give the baby any fluids, bottles, or pacifiers during our stay at the hospital. Ryan and Amy would like to help with giving the baby its first bath after both new parents have had the opportunity to bond with the baby. We are planning to have the baby room in with us in order to help establish breastfeeding and to get to know our new baby.

We would like all procedures explained to us, including the benefits and risks. Please consider the following medical interventions as a last resort:
  • Using labor inducing agents
  • Episiotomy
  • The use of forceps or vacuum extraction
  • Caesarian section
We understand that medical interventions are necessary in certain situations and would only like for them to be used in high-risk situations. We want to thank you for your understanding, support, and encouragement during the birth of our second baby.

To be honest, I think I would be 100% fine having a home birth and avoiding the hospital setting altogether, especially after having been through this process once before. I know Ryan is more comfortable being at the hospital, and I do respect his feelings, so we compromise! :) Of course not knowing when my labor will begin or how things will progress can make me feel anxious, but I do...

TRUST that my body was perfectly created to give birth to this baby
BELIEVE that my labor will begin in God's perfect timing
FEEL that I will be in safe hands with Ryan, our doula (Julie Pichon), and my OB (Dr. Soper)
KNOW that I've chosen to deliver at a hospital that respects and encourages natural birth and breastfeeding

When I remember those things, the anxiety melts away, and I feel very excited about what lies ahead!!! We're 35 weeks tomorrow, and I am so happy to be one week closer to the arrival of Baby #2.


Crown Moulding

We've lived in our house for almost 5 years, and while we've painted, decorated, and made ourselves nice and cozy here, I have been dying to put up crown moulding. We don't live in a custom home, and I've always felt that this simple addition could really add some character and finishing quality to our house. We worked with a guy named Cory Fredricks, who had done a lot of work for family members. They were really pleased with the work he did, so we started there. He quickly gave us an estimate, which is coincidentally the number I had in my head when looking into this project. We went to Lowe's, Home Depot, and Menards to price out crown moulding. I was so glad to see that there was really only one design option for the size/type of moulding we needed (primed pine). What was amazing was the price difference! At Lowe's and Menards, it cost $15 for a 12 foot board, and we needed 275 feet of crown moulding. At Home Depot, they had ProPacks, which were packs of five 12 foot boards, for only $42. This brought the price of crown moulding down from $345 to only $210 (5 ProPacks = 300 ft. crown moulding). Not bad at all, right? I am telling you the price because I really thought this was going to be an expensive upgrade, but after finishing our project, I have realized that it is totally affordable. Now you can go bug your spouse into letting you do it, too! Here are our before pictures:

After pictures...drum roll please!

This is one of my favorite parts - the crown moulding on the columns - completed changed the look!

What do you think?? Let me know you want Cory's contact information. He does all sorts of projects, and I highly recommend him!


33 Weeks!

Yesterday we hit the 33 week mark! Time seemed to just creep by until we hit 30 weeks. Now the clock is ticking away, and I can feel the birth of this baby getting closer and closer! I was a bit concerned that this little guy was not going to turn head down, mostly because he seemed to have his head in my ribs for much longer than Noah did. However, the day we hit the 31 week mark, this little bambino was moving around like ever before! I had Ryan put his hand on my belly, and we both were amazed at the way he was pushing and moving all over the place. Then, suddenly, we both felt a big BLURP!!! It was totally creepy the way I could feel him flip over inside me (I never felt Noah turn head down) - at least that was my guess at the time. I even said to Ryan, "If that wasn't him flipping over head down, I have no idea what that was." Everything felt different inside. I could actually breathe again! We went to see Dr. Soper the next morning for our routine check up, and she confirmed that he was head down. Now let's just hope he stays that way! At that appointment, I had only gained a half of a pound since my appointment 3 weeks prior, so I was excited about that! I will go back next Tuesday, so we will see what the scale says. We don't keep one in the house because I don't want to obsess about my weight, so it's always a surprise to see how things are measuring up when we go to the doctor's office.

Overall, I am feeling really well still! I have moments of discomfort - mostly between 8:00 and 10:30 p.m. I am sleeping really well, sometimes all the way through the night without waking up. I'm going to just enjoy that while it lasts. Sometimes I worry how I'll cope with having to wake up for middle of the night feedings and then have to take care of a toddler in the morning, too. In the end, though, I know millions of other women have done this for years and years and years. I'll be able to do it, too! Thank goodness I don't have to return to work until next school year. That will hopefully give me plenty of time to adjust (approximately 4 months) before I return to work. I count my blessings everyday for the way things have turned out. :)

We had a meeting with Julie Pichon, our doula, last Tuesday night. I was hoping that it would help get my mind refocused on birth and start me in my mental preparation for what will hopefully be another natural birth. After having several conversations throughout the evening, I truly feel like I turned a corner, mentally, and am beginning to prepare more for this baby's birth day. Julie gave me a book called Your Best Birth to help me prepare, and I'm really enjoying it so far. I have The Business of Being Born on my Netflix Instant Queue, which will compliment the book perfectly, and I can't wait to watch it. So many people have a hard time understanding why I would ever want to have a natural birth, but after reading many books it was difficult to imagine doing it any other way. I am so hopeful that everything will go well for this birth! I rewrote our birth preferences, which are pretty much the same with one addition. Now that I am having my second child, as long as everything is going well, I would like to deliver in the water, too. My labor progressed so much more quickly after getting in the huge labor tub last time! In my perfect scenario, I will be a good 5 cm when I get to the hospital. I'll jump straight into the tub and deliver in the water. I asked Ryan if he would want to get in with me for that part, and although I know it's not his first preference, he did say that if it meant that much to me, he would do it. :) I guess we will see what happens! Wouldn't that be a fun blog post to read?!

This Saturday my friend, Jessica, from Lemongrass Photography is taking maternity pictures of us. She has taken some great pictures for us in the past, and I can't wait to see how these turn out - glorious belly and all. I will make sure to post some in the next few weeks.

Nothing else is really new. I have two weeks left of work - then a week off for Spring Break - and then two more weeks of work. Then I am full term. People keep laughing, but I have a feeling this little guy is going to make his appearance sometime between April 16-23rd. Last time I guessed May 16th with Noah, and I was only 45 minutes off (11:15 p.m. on May 15th). Time will tell! I'm trying to get things finished up at work so that when I leave, I don't have any worries about the rest of the school year.

As each day passes, I get more and more excited to see our second son's little face. He is moving and stretching as we speak. I will miss these movements for sure, especially when we have no idea if more children are in our future or if this is it for us. Again, time will tell! In closing, enjoy these pictures of me at 32 and 33 weeks!


When the Cat's Away...

The mice will play!

This is a picture Ryan sent me while I was away overnight visiting my friend Sara in Madison, IN, where we went to school together. I was cracking up! Only a daddy would think to sent up the HUGE tent in the living room and play inside. They had a really great time together while I was away. Ryan really has exceeded my hopes for the kind of dad he would be for our children. It makes me love him that much more!
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